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THEATER BEAT

'Mr. Sloane' Could Be More Entertaining

October 21, 1994|SCOTT COLLINS

"Entertaining Mr. Sloane" is Joe Orton's outrageously lewd parody of a stuffy British drawing-room comedy. But the current revival at the World Theatre in Hollywood has some elements of mystery, too. The viewer wonders why something that reads so funny on paper isn't funnier onstage.

Here are some clues: Under Milton Justice's halting direction, the show moves at a fitful pace, never really kicking into high gear until late in the second act. A promising cast, meanwhile, ultimately disappoints by giving the most obvious readings of these deceptively textured parts.

In the title role, David Hamilton somewhat overplays the young man's wide-eyed innocence, while Bonnie McNeil's horny middle-aged matron Kat relies too heavily on quick gestures, such as licking her lips to indicate lasciviousness. Tim McNeil, however, is scarily (and hilariously) cadaverous as Kat's decrepit father, and David Meyer as brother Ed lends the right air of hypocritical dignity to the proceedings.

* "Entertaining Mr. Sloane," World Theatre, 6543 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Ends Oct. 29. $12. (213) 883-1565. Running time: 2 hours.

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